Monday 24 October 2016

Nicola Anderson: Black Friday a drab affair as rain turns it a shade of grey

Published 28/11/2015 | 02:30

Tina Morrin from Raheny looking for bargains during the Black Friday Sales
Tina Morrin from Raheny looking for bargains during the Black Friday Sales
Sue Grimbacher from Tubingem Germany and Monika Schug from Munich Germany looking for bargains during the Black Friday Sales in Debenhams on Henry Street

It was Black Friday alright - but not that you'd recognise it from the YouTube videos. No fisticuffs over the latest hot Christmas toy in aisle 12, no brawny brawls in the food courts and, disappointingly, little by way of people going bananas over vegetable steamers.

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Instead, what we got was a rainy, grey Friday that kicked off what was almost a peaceful beginning to the Christmas shopping season.

So busier then, certainly - but not particularly sweaty, unpleasant or violent.

Plenty of people just came along to dip a toe in the Black Friday pool to say they'd done it.

But plenty more had planned their shopping trip in any case, with some even confessing that the Black Friday marketing tag had almost put them off.

Ger Mangan, from Rathfarnham in Dublin, was shopping in Arnotts for Christmas decorations with her husband and revealed that the pair had made a pact to leave and go home if it was all too crazy. "But it's fine," shrugged Ger.

But in any case, Arnotts was not 'doing' Black Friday.

Instead, it was holding its annual Christmas Mega Event - which began on Wednesday and continues until Sunday.

Donald McDonald, Arnotts managing director, said the event had been a "resounding success", with a visible increase in footfall yesterday and sales figures "significantly ahead" of last year.

There were no queues at the Jervis Street shopping centre - though in Dixons, harried staff were shouting across the store about laptops. There were no queues at the till but the shop was noticeably full.

Marks and Spencer had large banners in the windows advertising up to 50pc off for Black Friday but in the morning, at least, the shop was tranquil.

Across the road in Debenhams, Black Friday seemed rather a bigger deal.

PR co-ordinator Emma Cunningham said this was the third year it has held the Black Friday event and it has grown exponentially ever since.

German students Sue Grimbacher and Monika Schug had wandered in for a look and were pleased with the discounts they found in the clothes section.

"We do not have Black Friday in Germany so we wanted to see what it was like," said Sue.

She seemed almost a little disappointed at the lack of urgency and chaos on display.

Tina Morrin and daughter Ciara, from Raheny in Dublin, were shopping for clothes.

"This day is all about Ciara," said Tina generously, vowing that she was not going to look at a single thing for herself.

While downstairs in the perfume section, Sheila Pollock, from Lucan, was thrilled with the discounts.

"I got about 20pc off on some of them," she said, adding that she had all but wrapped up her Christmas shopping.

Normal business seemed to be taking place in Easons, while there were no great crowds in the Ilac Centre.

"It'll probably get busier as the day goes on," said one trader hopefully.

Across the river, Grafton Street seemed no more or no less busier than usual.

But Brown Thomas was certainly crowded and upbeat staff were happily selling luxury bags and cosmetics, with 20pc off clothes and 10pc off some electrical goods.

However, its 'Black Friday' also runs throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Outside, the rain was falling steadily and shopping had now become the sensible option for those already out - and was probably putting off those mulling a shopping trip into the city centre.

Instead, traffic conditions were noticeably appalling around key out-of-town shopping centres like Dundrum, Blanchardstown and Liffey Valley, which pointed to the changed patterns of shoppers.

But even the discounters were in on the action, with Lidl offering a Samsung HD Ready TV for €269.99 to those quick enough to get their hands on one. Now retailers are putting their bets on Cyber Monday.

But you have to stay home in your pyjamas to savour the full experience of that.

Irish Independent

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